Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dragon Con 2010 Report – September 3-6, 2010

Dragon Con was a real pleasure this year, for I was able to roleplay almost continuously the entire weekend. As a result, my time in other parts of this vast and diverse sci-fi and fantasy pop culture convention, held every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, my home town, is somewhat more limited, but I have heard from numerous friend and my own daughter, so here is what we saw and experienced.

This year, Dragon Con took place across five conference hotels, covering much of a dozen or more city blocks and featuring a magnificent parade of costume wonder down the city’s main street. Gaming occupies much of the Hilton hotel. In the basement exhibition area were hundreds of tables divided into sections for board games, card games, and miniatures, and six full-sized, battle-scarred pods for Mechwarrior video game battles. Role-playing took place on the third floor, a quiet area of the con, where we could play without any distractions except one another’s games. Mark Lieberman and John Richardson once again did an admirable job keeping things running smoothly and getting us all into play.

I offered six three-to-four hour games over three days, all set in Greg Stafford’s venerable Glorantha using the Heroquest 2 rule system. I advertised them all as introductory, both to the rules (easy) and the world (admittedly challenging). Other than my first two slots on Saturday, every game had players, usually a full contingent. In fact, for my last game on Monday afternoon, I had nine players in a six-player scenario, though it was simple to add a few more heroes, and they roleplayed among themselves as much as they did through me.

I had the pleasure of hosting Ted Skirvin in one of my games. His curious Jrusteli scholar remains memorable. We hadn’t seen each another in years, so it was great to connect again, chat, and hear about his games and activities. I also promised to write an article for the CAR-PGa Newsletter. Here it is, Ted! Let’s play again soon.

I had a chance to be a player in another GM’s Glorantha game, though in a very different setting and using Mongoose Games Second Edition Runequest rules. I also enjoyed the time before each session was organized, during which GMs and players discussed games, tournaments, and the fun of gaming at a con. The Dresden Files RPG was enjoying great popularity among both GMs and players. There was almost no Dungeons and Dragons, and half of the game that ran were not fantasy settings. On the other hand, Shadowrun had its own room! Spirits remained high, and I was honored to be working alongside the many talented GMs that hosted games throughout the weekend.

Gaming twenty-eight hours out of sixty or so, I only made it out into the rest of the convention for a few hours. Between this and my many friends wandering the con and reporting back, however, I have some sense of Dragon Con 2010. Costuming, for which Dragon Con is famous, seemed slightly less common and somewhat subdued compared to previous years, though Harry Potter and steampunk were as popular as ever. I had my most diverse games ever in terms of gender, race, and public sexual orientation, and the convention overall reflected this.

Atlas Games, “home of the original exact change dance,” had a substantial presence in one of the dealer halls and seemed to be moving plenty of gaming merchandise in all forms. Chessex had a large booth and was crowded with eager patrons whenever I passed it. A few other, smaller booths sold games, sometimes in addition to comics or bric-a-brac. Gaming was definitely dwarfed by t-shirts, fantasy or Asian clothing, and leather goods, but it was present in good strength if not variety.

I didn’t make it to any of the arts show (which I love), auctions, celebrity gathering, concerts, contests, film festivals, fan tracks (ranging from “Star Trek” and “Whedon Universe” to “Writer’s Track” and “Paranormal Activity”), Walk of Fame, or Guinness record attempts, but a friend that helps count heads said numbers were good. There was certainly plenty of hustle and bustle in the main areas of the con at all hours of the day and night.

I am looking forward to Dragon Con 2011, which will be the con’s twenty-fifth gathering. Come on down south next Labor Day weekend!

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